SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY AREA, CA (Dec. 3, 2022) — The annual rainy season clustering of ladybugs at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park in Oakland is in progress. And you can view it during a guided walk from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, led by naturalist Michael Charnofsky.
This is a free program and registration is not necessary. Meet Michael at the park’s Canyon Meadow Staging Area. It’s at the end of the road leading into the park from Redwood Road, about two miles east of the intersection with Skyline Boulevard.
There’s a $5 parking fee when the kiosk is attended.
Ladybugs, more formally called ladybird beetles, cluster together in trailside shrubs during cold winter weather, then disperse in the springtime. You can see them in many parks and open spaces, but one of their favorite gathering places seems to be the intersection of the Stream and Prince Trails in Redwood Park.
Michael’s walk is an easy three-mile round trip. For information, call 510-544-3187.
For another easy walk with a naturalist, join the Sunol Stroll from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Sunol Regional Wilderness in southern Alameda County.
The group will meet at the visitor center for a one-mile ramble to see how the park transforms during cooler months. All ages are welcome; parent participation is required. Dress for the weather and bring drinking water.
From 1 to 1:30 p.m. the same day there’s a “Bird Talk ‘N’ Draw” session at the visitor center with naturalist Erica Stephens. The idea is to learn more about East Bay birds as you follow along and draw them step-by-step.
All ages are welcome. Drawing supplies will be provided or you can bring your own journal or art supplies.
Sunol Regional Wilderness is at the end of Geary Road off Calaveras Road about five miles south of I-680 and the town of Sunol. Both programs are free. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information on either program, call 510-544-3243.
Mistletoe and cider are the attractions of a program from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont.
Drop by the park’s wood stove for a mug of hot cider and to pick up some mistletoe. You’ll find out how mistletoe lives and why it is associated with love.
Ardenwood events and activities recreate life on a prosperous 19th century farming estate. The park is located at 34600 Ardenwood Boulevard, just north of Highway 84. Admission fees apply. Parking is free. For information, call 510-544-2797.
Winter Survival Hike
A “Winter Survival Hike” is scheduled from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont with naturalist Maeron Yeshiwas.
This is probably not as dire as it sounds. It’s a hike to discover how native animals and their distant “cousins” in the arctic adapt to survive during winter.
Meet at the park’s visitor center. All ages are welcome; parent participation is required. Be sure to dress warmly.
Coyote Hills is at the end of Patterson Ranch Road off Paseo Padre Parkway. There’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. For information on the program, call 510-544-3220.
Somersville was once one of the largest towns in Contra Costa County. The now-vanished community will come back to life through historic photos, maps, and clues of the landscape during a program from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 at Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve in Antioch with naturalist Jessica Kauzer.
Meet Jessica in the park’s uppermost parking lot on Somersville Road, 3½ miles south of Highway 4. The program is free; there’s a parking fee of $5 per vehicle when the kiosk is staffed. For information, call 510-544-2750.
You can help to collect information for a scientific database by joining in a “Bio Blitz” from 11 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Dec. 11 at Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley with supervising naturalist Wyatt Moore.
The program is free. Meet at the park’s visitor center. The idea is to see how many different plants and animals you can find throughout the park. All levels of expertise are welcome.
Big Break is at 69 Big Break Road off Main Street. For information, call 510-544-3050.
Round Valley south of Brentwood is one of the more remote and beautiful regional parks, home to many birds of prey. Naturalist Kevin Dixon will lead a hike there from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 in search of the park’s resident raptors.
This is a moderate, five-mile loop on the Miwok and Hardy Canyon Trails over sometimes steep and uneven ground. Minimum age is nine years; parent participation is required. Bring water, snacks, footwear and weather-appropriate clothing, as well as binoculars if you have them.
The hike is free of charge and registration is not necessary. Meet Kevin at the staging area, which is on Marsh Creek Road about 5.2 miles west of the intersection with Vasco Road. For information, call 510-544-2751.
For information on all scheduled regional park programs, visit www.ebparks.org/things-to-do.
Ned MacKay writes a regular column about East Bay Regional Park District sites and activities. Email him at email@example.com.